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Archive for the 'Video Mamma' Category

Virtually belly-to-belly: Don Reedy’s salesmaniacal YouTube video voicemails.

Reacting to this post from yesterday on a better way to handle video testimonials, Don Reedy brought us this idea in the comments:

Greg, this is really easy, and does take planning, but not much time.

I’ve started trying to communicate with prospects, people I just meet coming and going, and folks in escrow by using my laptop, recording a 30-45 second message, posting as an “unlisted” video to YouTube, and then linking a picture of myself with a “play button” on my torso to that link.

I embed the picture with link in emails. They fly through, are almost always clicked on, and provide that belly to belly contact emails don’t always do. And yes, often that simply results in future actual phone calls, but the goal of creating value to and for the client is surely helped along by this methodology.

Here is the photo of Don he sent to me in an email:

And here is the video I see when I click on that image:

As constructive criticism, I think I want the photo to be bigger with a bigger YouTube-like Play button, plus also a reiterated call to action in text form: “I’ve made a ‘video voicemail’ just for you. Click ‘Play’ to see it.” For the video, I want Don’s head and shoulder bigger — closer to the webcam — and higher in the frame.

Those are quibbles, though. I love the idea, and the “Yeah!” special effect is fun. It might work to tack on a business card at the end, along with a link-back, in the video and in the description section, to any client-specific web pages.

This is cool, though: Using rough-and-ready tools to put a very personal touch on voicemail-like contacts. Using smartphone video with one-touch YouTube posting, Don’s technique would be useful for all kinds of client follow up.

As an example, here’s the ‘script’ for a movie you’ll have to screen in your imagination:

Hey, Jim and Shirley. Greg Swann here with a quick video voicemail about the houses I looked at for y’all today. I’ll have a web page for you later today with photos of the homes I visited, but here’s the Cliff’s Notes: Westwing Mountain may be the answer to our prayers. The homes are a little pricier, but they’re newer and most of them are in great shape. And the views are simply breathtaking… [insert slow panorama here] Watch your email for my pix. Talk to you soon.

Not as fast as a voicemail, but it delivers the goods where a voicemail can’t. I rate that a win.

This is a cool idea, a Scenius present from Don. How do I know it’s a Scenius-in-the-making? Because if you think about this Don’s way, you’ll come up with a dozen great ideas of your own.


Big duh technology tip: Film that testimonial, YouTube it, then share the link with your client.

A while back, I wrote a post on BloodhoundBlog about using pocket-sized video cameras to record and propagate video testimonials. That kind of job is now better done by smartphone video cameras, but you can still buy a Flip camera if you have money burning a hole in your pocket. (But, if that really is your problem, I would be ecstatic if you would buy me a Looxcie headset-size video camera instead.)

Any way you capture the video, here is the procedure I talked about then:

1. Capture the video. Because you’re doing an interview, you can guide the testimonial to elicit the information you want to convey to other clients.

2. Post the video on your YouTube page.

3. Embed the YouTube video on your testimonials page. (I have code that will place a randomly-selected miniaturized-video, as pictured above, in your weblog’s sidebar, so that your clients see a different testimonial every time they come to visit.)

Here is the big duh I left out of that original post:

4. Share the link to the YouTube video with the subject of the testimonial.

When you made the film, you told your clients that you wanted for them to share the news of their good experience with their friends, colleagues and family members. How much easier can you make it for them to follow through than to give them access to their own video-recorded testimonial?

If you make a playlist of all your video testimonials, prospects referred by past clients may end up looking at more than one of your videos. Needless to say, each of those videos should link back to your main blogsite. But the big bonus of working this way is to make it very easy for your satisfied clients to share their satisfaction with their warm network.

How do I know this is a bug duh idea? Because it only took me four-and-a-half years to think of it!


Happy Birthday, Greg!

Enjoy your next trip around the sun!


“As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.”

Governor John Kasich said it here.

But let me break it down for you:


Coming to the silver screen Atlas Shrugged.

Could this be a movie for Bloodhounds everywhere?

I know that just about everyone who reads here at BHB has read Ayn Rand and has their opinions on whether she was a brilliant author. I personally find her works Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged to be some of the most enjoyable reading that I get to partake of.  I seem to always be reading one of these at any given time.

For many years there have been discussions of how to best bring Atlas Shrugged to the big screen. On April 15th. 2011 the first installment of the book will be released for all of us to watch. Could this be a movie that will inspire everyone? I know that it is a very tall order to bring a work of such magnitude to the masses.  I for one will be watching it on opening night. Right after I have mailed my annual documentation to the looters who are taking more and more from me and always wanting more. I love the fact that the movie is opening on Tax Day. The only other day I can think that might have been more fitting was Independence Day.

Here is the trailer to the movie. I am interested in hearing what you think. Will this be something you will be going to see in the theater in April?


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

… which brings a groan from the deepest depths of my soul. I’m not holly jolly Christmas type. The hustle and bustle part of this season can put me in a funk. I used to wonder about that, but now I think it might be because I already have all I want for Christmas.

I do look forward to my own little family’s one Christmas tradition that isn’t pillaged by the outside world: Our Christmas Eve dinner of duck served with a changing assortment of side dishes and always a cordial glass worth of wine for the almost-of-age among us. It’s a time for us to slow down and reflect and love each other, and for each of us it’s become our favorite part of the holiday.

This is an amazing band from Cincinnati- Over The Rhine. This song is for those of us who dread the holidays but have learned how to live through them by creating our own traditions and finding our own way to be happy. Sing it, sister.


Pimping Tomato Real Estate Video Class…

Hi All,

I just got an email from Jim Cronin, (Tomato Head) asking me if I’ve pimped the class I’m doing at 2PM East today over at Tomato University.

Well Jim, I guess here’s your answer:
I’m a total procrastinating slacker…. this blog post is part of my last ditch attempt at doing my part 🙂

For anyone not familiar with Tomato U. It’s a pretty cool concept… a menu of one-off workshops/classes that’ll let you brush up on real estate tech stuffs.

Disclosure: I’m getting paid to teach the class today…


All of the Best Features of Top Producer…for $100

Digital Access Pass…is amazing.  What it’s doing and where it’s going requires a good bit of configuration. But, if you’re E-only, and do more email than other stuff, it’s the way to go. I’ve got no skin in that game, other than my desire to see Ravi get really good at this.

For a basic CRM and a way to have a “gated WordPress Comunity” dap does a lot. It’s not perfect, but it’s got (now) an aweber forms parser and other things that are allowing and extending its functionality.

Dap Ain’t user friendly, quite. It requires a brain to use. It requires a commitment to THINK in advance.

Anyway, here’s an idea I did. I made this for Ravi because he is worth helping, and promoting his stuff is important to me. I want him to win….so his software can help my business.

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12 Days Of Christmas – Mortgage Edition

Great job putting this together, Jonas!

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New cameras for the Bloodhounds: My take is that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1 offers a lot of bang for the buck

“If your car keys are with you, your camera should be with you.” That’s one of the mantras I preach at Realtors when I speak in public. The language of real estate is photography, and you cannot do your job properly if you can’t communicate what you’re seeing to your clients.

Having a camera along solves a multitude of dilemmas. I see a lot of houses for out of state buyers, so the web sites I build for them can provide invaluable details about candidate homes. But there are all kinds of other benefits to always having a camera with you when you’re out of the office: Documenting benefits and drawbacks of specific neighborhoods, capturing on-the-spot images of red flag issues before the inspector transmits his report, etc.

“But,” you may be be straining to expostulate, “my phone has a camera.” Believe me, I know. I see its output in the MLS way too often. Your phone has a bad camera, with a cheesy little lens — its focal length much too long for real estate — and a cheesy little image size. Someday phone cameras may be adequate for day-to-day real estate work, but that day is not today.

We have a Kodak Digital SLR for listings and other high-end work, but, until lately, we have each carried a Fujifilm Finepix E500 for everyday photos. This was a reasonable price/performance compromise when we got them. They’re light in weight and they’re powered by AA batteries, so there was never any threat of running out of juice. The lens is only 28mm at its widest, which is adequate but not ideal. But those cameras were workhorses. Cathleen and I both rolled them over, call it around 15,000 photos each over the past four years.

But all things come to an end. Cathy lost her Finepix recently, and mine is exhibiting the kind of noisome behavior that argues that it’s about to fail permanently.

Time to go shopping. I’ve been following the Panasonic Lumix line of point-and-shoot digital cameras since I first heard about them in a post by Jeff Turner, a long time ago. I got to see one in action just lately, with buyers. Everything’s a trade-off, and we’re tossing nickels around like manhole covers right now. But we needed to upgrade, and the Lumix DMC-ZR1 seems to offer a lot of bang for the buck.

What are we buying? The picture above is worth a thousand words: We want that 25mm lens. There are 24mm lenses out there, but they cost more. And, of course, on DSLRs you can get down to 10mm — but that costs a lot more. What we’re buying are everyday cameras intended to ride around with us every day. We need small, cheap and reliable, not the biggest, best and most budget-busting. We have the big Kodak for high-end work. These cameras are intended to pound out thousands of photos a year.

But guess what? With a 12.1 megapixel maximum resolution, the Lumix cameras can deliver the high-end goods, if we need them to. And they will shoot HD video, as well, so we can leave the Flip video cameras at home.

On, the price was about $222 each, not bad for the feature set. Not a huge financial heartbreak if you drop it or lose it, for that matter. The cameras should be here next week. I’ll post some photos to give an idea of image quality.

More on real estate photography from the BloodhoundBlog archives: Choosing a camera, Composition is salesmanship, More on camera choices, What do you do with great property photos?, Photos from the whatever-it-takes school of listing. There is plenty more organized under the Photography category.


Taking the Genius of Brian Brady to the Next Level: How to Pipe Linked In Network Updates Into Your Feed Reader

In the spirit of my #1 Bloodhound Blog Unchained takeaway, here’s a 70% ready-to-roll video.  Brian Brady was kind enough to teach me his brilliant way of leveraging Linked In to establish new relationships.  I haven’t been executing the Brady Principles consistently enough.  Check out a little something-something I stumbled upon (no pun intended) today:

Here are some related links if you’d like to learn more about Brian Brady’s Linked In techniques or Google Reader:

Brian Brady Training on Linked In (awesome webinar we recorded in March)

Google Reader vs. Twitter Lists (why I disagree with a recent article Scoble wrote vs. Google Reader)

Introduction to Google Reader (great article by Mark Madsen, fellow BHB contributor)


Youtube Embed “Dump”

Ok… so I try to stay away from being too blatant about the self promotion here at BHB. But screw it. Here we go…


Easy Reference Youtube Embed Codes and Tweaks For Your Website

Using Youtube’s standard embeds you end up with something like this:

Notice the White “Brainstorming Domain Names” in the header? Ugly, right?

Well strip them out by adding “&showinfo=0” to the url. And you’ll end up with something like this:

Or maybe you want to make the vid bigger? Just change the dimensions in the embed code and you’ll end up with something like this:

Or, maybe you’d like to start the video at a certain point? Use “&start=(insert seconds here)”.

Or, maybe you want to “loop” the video so it keeps replaying? Just use “&loop=1” in the embed code. Trust me, this, coupled with “&autoplay=1” can come in very handy, especially if you’re trying to have some fun with a friend. I’ll spare you the demo on this one, because the Bloodhoundblog home page would end up streaming my “toilet humor” over and over again until this post gets buried in the archives by newer posts.

Or…maybe not? Which leads me to my favorite trick. Coupling all of the above with a minimized 1 x 1 pixel vid featuring some unsavory audio. (If you pull out a magnifiying glass maybe you can see the video below this line?

[Note- Little pixelated fart was just removed. I felt bad because people were starting to blame the dog. Sorry Odysseus… rh, a few days later]

Excuse Me!

Practical applications for real estate? Well, stripping the white title line could make your site look a lot cleaner and more professional? Or maybe you want to take a real long video of a home tour, then link directly to different rooms by using the “&start” thing. Or maybe you’re confident a little “silent but deadly” offer could help your conversion ratio. Example: You could embed a tiny 1×1 and say something like “pssst… give me a call, I have an opening this Saturday morning at 10.”

Freak em out a little, they’ll either love you or hate you for it… but at least your site’ll be memorable?



Love in the Time of Obama: Big Spender

I watched C-SPAN last night.

Now I feel dirty.

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Want buyers to think you are better than sliced bread?

Were ready for step two of the series on how to effectively use a tablet PC to run your day to day real estate tasks.  I’m including a screencast to actually give you some visualization on how I actually use my tablet PC for working with buyers in the field. Warning: Please turn down volume on screencast prior to starting.
Using a tablet PC when out in the field

The basic premise of what I do with buyers out in the field is extremely simple but very effective for organization, having a go-to information source, and being looked to at a whole new light in your clients eyes.

What I do when working with buyers using my tablet PC:

  • Fire up my MLS and find the homes that I will be showing to my buyer
  • Go to File Print and select the Print labeled “One Note 2007”
  • Once the spec sheet is in One Note I move it into a pre-created notebook for my specific client for organizational reasons
  • You can also print specific tax bills or anything relevant to that specific house you can think of that maybe handy and impressive to show in-front buyers.  The most relevant thing that I have added into my showings is the listing history/price change sheet.  (We all know they ask they questions almost every time no more fumbling, time to be the expert we really are!)
  • Next I go show the house and take notes on each property that we see so I can give relevant feedback to the listing agent.  Taking notes on every house is also a great way to remind buyers about the prior homes.

As you can see what I’m presenting here is really simple and should not intimidate anyone that is afraid of technology.  It’s as simple as Print/Move to a Notebook this is a good start of what we will be building in on future posts.
The real reason I’ve decided to take on this Tablet PC for Real Estate blog journey is to communicate with other people who share similiar interest’s and can share new ways of working with a tablet PC to become more efficient and profitable.  Time is money!


Dave, Gary, Jim – Ready to Conquer Video and Double Global Market Share?

Over at Agent Genius, Amy Chorew has a post up entitled “How One Company Conquered Video”. The post was obviously a nice plug for one of the principles of Coldwell Banker premier in Berlin Connecticut and a local video company, but it somehow set me off a bit.

Here was my comment on the post:

Conquered Video?

The local CB’s approach, while more progressive than most was likely a wasted effort. Fred’s right, these are lame. And Bob’s right. How is anyone gonna see these things?

What Coldwell Banker should do is this:

1. Work out a deal with Flip or Vado so that their agents can buy cameras at a discount.

2. Help each of their agents set up a Youtube account and understand how to upload videos from their cameras and do some very basic editing using Youtube’s built in features.

3. Assign each agent a theme to video around. Examples: Neighborhood Driving Videos, Interviews With Home Sellers, Interviews With Home Buyers, Featured Businesses, etc.

4. Give each company agent a Video Blog page (on a larger company Video Site) featuring a youtube gallery similar to the approach on display over at PropertunityKnocks.Com.

5. Make sure effective lead capture elements are built into these video blog pages.

6. Promote the overall video blog site to the public via a massive Facebook ads campaign.

The result?

Coldwell Banker does something that would accomplish a lot more for their agents (and the company as a whole) then working out some sleazy affiliate relationship with a vendor and taking a little something more from their agents.

Sorry for being skeptical here. But doesn’t it seem more like CB conquered their agents wallets here a little more effectively than they did video?

(I feel a little bad about that last part because I wrote it before my first cup of coffee. While it’s possible the local broker had an affiliate relationship with the local broker, it’s not fair to assume they did. Instead I wish I’d congradulated that broker for at least trying instead of being so grumpy. But oh well…)

The point is this. It’s now more possible for large Brokers to “conquer video” than it ever has been in the past. In my comment to Amy’s post I gave a sorta vague roadmap. But there’s a lot more I’m not talking about.

Dave, Gary, Jim… whoever personally gets in touch with me first can have first dibs at the rest…